Cooking with Chocolate
The fruit of the cacao tree is not just for desserts — it adds colour and texture to savoury dishes like this dark and delicious chili con carne
Recipe developed for Canadian Health by Diana Swift
Nutritional analysis by Susie Langley, RD
Photography by Jason Grenier
1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
2 medium onions,
2 cloves garlic, crushed
and finely chopped
1 large stalk celery,
1 medium red pepper,
2 jalapeno peppers,
deseeded and chopped
16 oz (500 g) extra-lean
2 tbsp (30 mL) ground cumin
2 tbsp (30 mL) chili powder
1 large bay leaf
1 cup (250 mL) fresh-cooked
1 cup (250 mL) fresh-cooked red kidney beans
1 28-oz (800 mL) can
2 large fresh tomatoes, grated
1⁄2 cup (125 mL) reduced-sodium beef broth
2 oz (60 g) unsweetened
2 tbsp (30 mL) freshly
squeezed lime juice
Dash Tabasco sauce
1⁄2 cup (125 mL) chopped
fresh coriander leaves
Note: You can use canned beans, but these will make the dish much higher in sodium.
In a large heavy skillet, heat 1 tbsp oil over medium heat and sauté onions, garlic, celery, and jalapenos for 5 minutes. Remove vegetables from pan and reserve.
Add beef to skillet and cook until nicely brown, about 8 minutes. Pour off any excess fat from pan.
Return vegetables to skillet and add cumin, chili powder and bay leaf, stirring and cooking 1 minute.
Add beans, crushed tomatoes, grated tomatoes and beef broth, mixing well.
Add chocolate and simmer 30 minutes,
- Remove bay leaf. Add lime juice, Tabasco and
salt. Garnish with coriander leaves.
Serve with warm corn-flour tortillas, 5% fat sour cream and avocado wedges tossed in lime juice.
Makes 6 servings
[Per serving 350 calories,
14 g fat,
6 g saturated fat,
35 mg cholesterol,
12 g fibre 25 g protein,
37 g carbohydrates,
380 mg sodium]
Excellent source of vitamin C and fibre; good source of iron and vitamin A
Food of the gods
The Aztecs considered chocolate the food of the gods, and many people today would agree. Others swear by this dark seed-based paste as a mood enhancer, although no scientific evidence supports this. Chocolate, especially the dark variety, contains polyphenol compounds that may act as antioxidants to protect cells from wear and tear caused by rogue oxygen molecules. Some studies have noted a modest reduction in blood pressure (and no weight gain) with modest daily consumption of dark chocolate. Chocolate was once feared for its content of a saturated fat called stearic acid, but unlike other saturated fats, stearic acid does not raise levels of LDL “bad” cholesterol in the bloodstream and may even lower them. A study in the Journal of Internal Medicine reported that heart attack survivors who ate chocolate at least two or three times a week reduced their risk of death by as much as three times versus non-chocolate-eating survivors. Look for chocolate with a cocoa content of at least 70%. — D.S.
Let Spring Unfurl on Your Plate
Steamed Fiddleheads With Dijon-Tarragon Sauce
Recipe developed for Canadian Health by Steve Pitt
Nutritional analysis by Susie Langley, RD
Photography by Jupiterimages
1 lb (500 g) fresh fiddleheads
1 cup (250 mL) fat-free buttermilk
2 tsp (10 mL) cornstarch
1 tsp (5 mL) Dijon
1 tsp (5 mL) lemon juice
1 tsp (5 mL) fresh tarragon,
or 1⁄2 tsp (2.5 mL) dried
Pinch freshly ground black pepper
Pinch ground cayenne pepper (optional)
Makes 4 servings
[Per serving 90 calories,
1.5 g fat,
1 g saturated fat,
5 mg cholesterol,
2 g fibre,
8 g protein,
13 g carbohydrates,
70 mg sodium]
Excellent source of vitamin A; good source of vitamin C
Scrub brown scales off fiddleheads with
a dry vegetable brush. Trim stems to 1 inch
(2.5 cm) from where fronds start to curl.
Wash thoroughly in cold water.
Steam fiddleheads 15 to 20 minutes until tender
but still crunch.
Meanwhile, mix buttermilk and cornstarch in a saucepan and place on medium heat. Stir gently with a whisk until buttermilk thickens. Remove from heat and add Dijon, lemon juice, tarragon, black pepper and cayenne.
Remove fiddleheads from steamer and place on
a serving platter. Pour sauce over fiddleheads
and serve immediately
The coiled immature fronds of the ostrich fern, contain vitamins A, B3 (niacin) and C as well as some calcium and iron. Their high potassium-to-sodium ratio makes the little spirals a good choice for people on low-salt diets, such as those with high blood pressure or kidney conditions. These wild-picked scrolls have a unique crisp texture and a taste reminiscent of asparagus. Note: Health Canada advises against eating fiddleheads raw.
— Diana Swift